Court gives elderly Mayo farmer last chance to hold onto his cattle

A farmer in his 70s has been given a final chance to prove he is still able to look after his cattle, the Mayo News reported.

John Hoster of Cloonmore, Ballyfarna, Claremorris has been given nine months by a judge in Claremorris District Court, Co. Mayo to show authorities he is still capable of taking care of his herd, it added.

Sitting in Castlebar, the court reportedly heard how Veterinary Inspector, Peter Byrne, visited the farm of the 77-year-old bachelor on July 13, 2016.

Byrne visited the farm on the back of a report received by Garda John Horkan, according to the Mayo News.

The Veterinary Inspector told the court how he found a cow lying down with a rope tied around her neck and onto a post, as well as a tree, in order to keep the cow from lying on her back.

After failing to meet with the elderly farmer on July 13, Byrne returned the following day and discovered the animal had been moved to a different position but was still in discomfort and didn’t have access to water.

Another animal was also discovered by Byrne in a distressed condition on another part of the farm, which was believed to have gotten stuck in a drain a few days prior to the visit.

Photographic evidence of the animals, one of which showed pressure sores, were handed to the presiding Judge, Mary Devins, the Mayo News reported.

It is believed that a local vet had attended the first animal and that the bachelor farmer had gotten medicines for the second.

Following an inspection of the other 45 animals on the farm, Byrne reportedly found their condition to range from reasonable to poor.

Byrne is believed to have directed that both animals should be euthanised and sent to a local knackery.

Fears the farmer won’t be able to cope in the future

The Veterinary Inspector also told the court that he visited Hoster’s farm the day before the court sitting and found that all the cattle were being fed and were in a better condition, the Mayo News reported.

The elderly farmer is believed to have very little family and does not want to get out of farming.

However, Hoster has been advised to reduce the size of his herd in the past, Byrne reportedly told the court, as it is a farm that he has received a number of complaints about in the past.

The farmer is coping at the moment, Byrne added, but there are fears that conditions could deteriorate in the future.

The presiding Judge reportedly put the case back until December 5, 2017.

If the elderly farmer cannot prove that he is fit to look after the 45 animals by that date, a fine and an order that he can longer hold livestock will have to be imposed.